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YouTube’s crusade against hateful content backfires

Last Wednesday, YouTube announced its adoption of stronger measures to fight hateful content on the site. But these new policies seem to have stirred up controversy in a different way instead.

These new policies aimed to more assertively confront supremacist content on the site have some unwanted effects. Many creators have claimed that their videos and in some cases entire channels have been improperly removed. The leading argument is the new algorithm can’t differentiate between actual hate content and educational or journalistic content that documents these. It is claimed that videos that contain appearances from noted supremacists are also being removed. Independent journalist Ford Fischer’s entire channel was demonetized without notice or further instruction to appeal against it within minutes.

YouTube's crusade against hateful content backfires

YouTube has refused to comment so far regarding the issue. Though it should be noted that videos are only flagged by the algorithm of YouTube for unsavoury content. The decision to demonetize or remove content lies in the hands of review teams employed by YouTube.

It is important to take measures to battle the increasing presence of hateful content on online platforms. But it is equally important to discern bigotry from documentation of bigotry. Battling hate begins with knowing about it and being aware of its facets. If sources of information regarding bigotry are swept under the rug in some vain attempt to deny its existence, it will simply persist in our ignorance. As it has for many centuries. YouTube must be held accountable for this event and must act swiftly to better its systems. Until then, watch your content.

6 YouTube channels you should try out

According to Stasita, every day around 4 million people use YouTube. All these people have some sort of attachment to YouTube. In fact, they have something that gives them meaning. Either through entertainment or through information sharing.

Everyone has YouTube channels that they like. Some are common among people like PewDiePie and The Infographics Show. On the contrary, some are a bit uncommon. We’ll find out some YouTube channels that are a bit uncommon among general people but are worth a shot.

So, let’s jump into the list.

Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

This is a German YouTube channel and design studio. How good is this channel? I’ll give you two reasons.

Firstly, this channel has a passion for sharing knowledge. Also, they do it for free. Above all, the most notable thing about this channel is its unique design and storytelling perspective. In fact, Kurzgesagt wants to raise awareness among people through videos.

The videos cover areas like science, biology, history, space, technology, and philosophy. Furthermore, you can learn a lot about these usually boring topics in a fun way with Kurzgesagt. Many are a fan of these videos because of the animations. Many are a fan because of the way they share knowledge. I believe that if you start watching a video from this channel, you won’t be able to stop anytime soon.

Button Poetry

Many of you might think why this channel is here. This is supposed to be an uncommon list of channels. Well, in fact this is a bit uncommon. Even I found this channel at the end of last year.

Now, do you love poetry? Do poems levitate your mood? Then I guess this is the best channel for you. Here you will find videos of excellent recitation of awesome poetry. Some, of these creations, might make you question about some common things. For instance, what is love? Moreover, you will see hundreds of stories touching your heart through the amazingness of poetry.

Even if you are not a poetry lover, you can try some of these out. Believe me, you will surely get a relaxing time.

Lessons from the Screenplay

Do you like films? Well, almost everyone likes movies. The real question is, do you like to think about movies? If yes, then this channel is the perfect place for you. Here you will get explanations about movies through exploring a character.

Roaming around YouTube you might have seen a lot of movie reviews, but this channel is a bit different. Michel, the owner of this channel pays his homage to films while reviewing those. Here you will be able to know more about scripts. You will find out why and how these movie scripts are so good at storytelling. Eventually, you will come across techniques that turn good writings to great.

So, whether you are a writer or a film enthusiast or a knowledge seeker, you can give this a shot.

I’m Cyborg but It’s Ok

Do you think you have a nice choice in movies? Do people praise your music taste? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, you should try out this channel. Awesome movie clips portrayed with great music will give you a soothing feeling indeed.

The Dreamers (2003) with Future Islands

I have found many beautiful songs through this channel. From French new waves films to modern day films, many great films are covered by this channel. Also, somehow the creator finds the perfect music to run with the movie clip. Recently the channel faced a copyright ban, but it seems that it has been sorted out now. Therefore, the creator repeatedly states that he or she doesn’t monetize the videos. That these creations are simply ‘Fan Arts’.

Yes Theory

What do you fear most? What are you going to do about it? These two questions are from the latest video of Yes Theory. In fact, These two questions made me pause the video and think.

I found Yes Theory in December 2018 from a mentor of mine. Then I was going through some difficult time and this channel helped me a lot. Yes Theory believes in saying Yes. They share positivity through seeking discomfort. In fact, their tagline is Seek Discomfort. 4 people in 2015 met and became friends over the idea of getting out of the comfort zone. Soon they started their YouTube channel. Eventually, now they have over three million subscribers in YouTube.

Photographer Balazs Benke gave away this picture to Yes Fam for free use.

In the meantime, they made a fan group of 78,000 members in Facebook named Yes Fam. Here everyone is working towards seeking discomfort. There are also subgroups in this huge community. People who are interested in Music, Painting, Literature and other stuff, help out each other in these subgroups. Moreover, these Yes Fam members sometimes meet up physically and make the bond even stronger by creating a yes circle.

Yes Theory Circles

You can click into any video from this channel and you’ll have a smile on your face at the end of the video. You’ll be filled with optimism to see what people can accomplish by working together. What we can do by getting out of the comfort zone.

Antik Mahmud

There are many Bangladeshi YouTube channels out there. But it’s pretty hard to find a decent one.

Now, do you like cartoons? Or humorous videos? Well, Antik Mahmud brings these together in his cartoon vlogs. Furthermore, the contents are pretty decent. You will get a peek into the life of a university student. How someone around that age perceives society and its surroundings.

Check out this outstanding humorous video of him.

Takeaway

Some of these channels might be common to many people but these are still unknown to many. There are other channels like Screen prism, Wisecrack, The Worst Taste, Crash Course etc. that should be in your watchlist. Do check these out whenever you have time.

Also, can you suggest some channels too?

YouTube has finally banned dangerous challenges and pranks

Just as the Bird Box challenges were picking up steam, YouTube has gotten around to banning it. Not just that either, YouTube has banned all sorts of stupid and harmful challenges and pranks on their website. An announcement was made by Google just a few hours prior which ended these stupid pranks on their website once and for all.

Bye bye Bird Box

YouTube has recently uploaded a new set of policies regarding many different issues. One of the sections was completely dedicated to dangerous pranks and stunts. This news comes following a series of disturbing videos made of the Bird Box challenge.

Before this, many YouTube creators have made Bird Box challenge videos. Aside from that many have made even stupider and more dangerous pranks and stunts. In many cases, the video takes on a stunt that is done by stunt actors or professionals. Yet, in most cases, the audiences watching the videos have no idea of the videos’ false nature. This leads many to attempt the dangerous challenges themselves, harming themselves or others in the process. In one case, a woman shot and killed her own boyfriend while performing such a stunt.

YouTube has had enough

This has led YouTube to finally put a lid on this phenomenon. They have announced that all dangerous pranks and stunts on their site will be banned indefinitely. They said exactly this in their announcement:

Dangerous challenges and pranks: Reminder – content that encourages violence or dangerous activities that may result in serious physical harm, distress or death violates our harmful and dangerous policy, so we’re clarifying what this means for dangerous challenges and pranks. YouTube is home to many beloved viral challenges and pranks, but we need to make sure what’s funny doesn’t cross the line into also being harmful or dangerous. We’ve updated our external guidelines to make it clear that we prohibit challenges presenting a risk of serious danger or death, and pranks that make victims believe they’re in serious physical danger, or cause children to experience severe emotional distress. Read more in this Dangerous Challenges & Pranks FAQ.

Announcement for the new changes of guideline

More changes

This is not the only update to the YouTube guidelines, however. Thumbnails that include pornography or graphic violence will lead to a strike. YouTube has faced issues with suggestive or grotesque thumbnails in the past. Anything for a few extra views right?

YouTube has also strengthened their policies about external sites. Creators who use external links for websites that cater to content like pornography, hateful ideology, or content that can incite violence, will receive a community strike. Again, if a channel collects three strikes in 90 days, it will be terminated.

IGTV: game changer or doomed to fail?

Instagram, one of the largest social media platforms with over 1 billion monthly active users, has now launched Instagram TV or IGTV – as you may have noticed by the little orange IGTV button on the top right corner of your updated Instagram home. IGTV is a standalone app – so, in a way, it is to Instagram what Facebook Messenger is to Facebook, but for videos instead of messages. Thankfully, you can also view videos on IGTV through the IGTV button on Instagram home and on users’ Instagram profiles, so you won’t have to feel excluded if you haven’t downloaded the IGTV app yet – unlike Facebook Messenger. What I found myself wondering when I first discovered the IGTV button on Instagram is, since we already have access to video stories on Instagram itself and other video sharing platforms such as YouTube, how much can the introduction of IGTV change the online video world as we know it?

While at first glance IGTV videos looked a lot like Instagram stories (only longer), it turned out to be much more than that. Any Instagram user can create a channel and share videos lasting up to 10 minutes (much more satisfying than having to crop your videos to a mere 30 seconds as is on Instagram) – and for users with larger follower bases, that limit is an hour. While stories can only be 15 seconds per clip and last only 24 hours on your profile, IGTV videos are more like creating YouTube videos, only vertical and filling in your entire screen. Moreover, IGTV, unlike YouTube, allows its users to browse videos and see comments whilst watching videos at the same time – a feature YouTube users have so far been deprived of.

The idea of vertical videos is personally the most exciting aspect of IGTV to me, as this gives way to developing a whole new range of filmmaking techniques that have been largely undiscovered thus far. Film-making, traditionally done in a 16:9 aspect ratio, has always been so to mimic how the human eye views the world – horizontally. However, in the 21st century, our smartphones have gotten us quite accustomed to a more vertical view of the world, and so the new vertical experience reinforces the feeling that this is still the virtual world – a feeling that is very new, and perhaps weird, to us. Even having to rotate to view YouTube videos on full-screen can sometimes feel like too much of a hassle – that’s how much we have gotten used to viewing videos on our phones vertically. So vertical videos on IGTV not only seem convenient (albeit takes some getting used to at first), but create the scope for more experimenting for content-creators and film-makers. In fact, we had already seen a lot of vertical music videos from popular artists in 2017, and now that IGTV has created a platform build specifically for vertical viewing, there is a much broader prospect for those videos now on IGTV. The new vertical viewing experienced introduced in this platform can therefore be a huge game-changer.

What makes IGTV even easier to use is that Instagram is already a mass favorite social media platform. Popular instagrammers won’t have to worry about starting out on a new platform on IGTV but rather building up on an already existing platform. Until now, anyone who wanted to expand using both the video and photography media had to maintain YouTube and Instagram separately – having to build a follower base in both of these platforms. With IGTV now opening Instagram up to a larger range of video content, this changes the entire dynamic – users now have the opportunity to focus on only one platform, Instagram, for both videography and photography rather than having to spread their resources across several platforms. Similarly, users won’t have to switch back and forth on popular YouTube/Instagram personalities but focus on one platform only.

So the real question it all boils down to is : what does this mean for YouTube?

The launch of IGTV almost unquestionably challenges the most popular video website we have, but how much does it really challenge? On one hand, with IGTV being a vertical platform, the type of content that can be shared on IGTV has to be very differently created than what can be shared on YouTube. In this sense, content-creators who want to retain their quality might want to treat these two websites very differently. But what can impact YouTube about IGTV isn’t how the content-creators see it, but how their users see it – and frankly, IGTV has made its platform much more accessible and handy than YouTube is at the moment.

And even if IGTV does gain traction from its users, will it really affect YouTube all that much? IGTV works largely in the same way as YouTube – you have to make your videos first and you can only use the website to share your content, so it has a real scope at competing with YouTube. But to what extent it can really do this can only be determined by what content IGTV is best suited for. YouTube is more of an all-size-fits-all kind of platform – everything made for a horizontal screen (which is mostly everything) is up there, and everything that wasn’t made for a horizontal screen can be uploaded too. In this case, IGTV’s vertical take on things end up giving it the shorter end of the stick – it limits the range of content that can be uploaded there, and so limits how much it can actually challenge YouTube.

In the social media world, Instagram has made a big name already, a name that is right up there with YouTube. Starting out as a platform meant exclusively for photos, Instagram has achieved major success with the introduction of Instagram stories as well, and now with the launch of IGTV, we have no doubt that this will be big as well. What we can only wait to see is, how much of the YouTube territory can IGTV actually conquer? One thing is for sure: it is a huge relief that the new Instagram update is nothing like the Snapchat update that ruined everything, but rather brings hope, excitement, and perhaps even a new era of video culture.

YouTube Music: Spotify has competition (finally)

It’s no surprise that Google knows where you go most days, where you eat, what kind of products you’re likely to purchase and more or less your entire online presence. They’re monetizing this knowledge of the consumers and trying to sell you a new type of product: YouTube Music.

Google announced on May 17th that they’re killing YouTube Red and turning it into a two level product system, the YouTube Music and the YouTube Premium platforms. The YouTube Music service is going to let users get seamless ad free music on YouTube, even when users switch apps or turn off the screen, for a monthly subscription fee of $9.99. Regular YouTube app users must keep their screen on at all times without switching to Facebook or other apps to continuously play music. YouTube Premium has all those features, but for everything, including music and YouTube Red Originals. This feature costs $11.99 for the user. This means if the user gets YouTube Premium, they also get the YouTube Music service, which seems like the entry point for YouTube Premium.

However, we’re here to discuss YouTube Music, and more importantly, what Spotify can expect for their market. For years now Spotify has had a monopoly of sorts in the mobile music player industry, rarely having any competition. As such their products and services have become a little lackluster. Just recently they had a scandal about removing R. Kelly from the official Spotify playlist, and there are women’s groups who are pressuring the platform to remove artists like Chris Brown and Red Hot Chili Peppers. They have also launched a new hate content and hateful conduct policy, which has been widely criticized for being anti-free speech. Their only competition for a long time, Apple Music, has been slowly stepping out of the spotlight and has yet to take advantage of this.

Yet, with the now YouTube Music label, Google is clearly making moves to take Spotify’s market share in the music app market. With a smart marketing scheme, a library of over 40 million songs and other tools at the disposal of the giant corporation that is Google, Spotify might get caught in a perfect storm.

YouTube Music has a long way to go before it even becomes Spotify’s chief competitor in that market. Yet, we’ve known from Google’s track record that they don’t take many false steps, and most of their endeavors have been successful. It would take a monumental effort from Spotify to stop Google from infringing on their market shares and keep the number one spot in the years to come. For now, they will enjoy being the best-selling music app on the Play Store and App store. Google on the other hand, has other issues. Its YouTube platform has been widely criticized for sudden demonetization and hypocritical ad laws, such as when they let a video of the Jimmy Kimmel show ads for their video on a US school shooting incident, even though that’s against YouTube’s own policies. This kind of behavior and double standards against content creators has seen many get bitter and outright leaving the platform to go to Twitch.com. The battle for musical supremacy is more even than you’d think at first glance, and if not careful, either one of these labels could go down as just another footnote in the history of the other.